Stunk's Site-maker's Guide

Introduction

Anybody can make a Web page -- it takes no special skills, no technology or software that you don't already have1, and there are hundreds of places that will let you put it on the Web for free. If, however, you want to make an interesting site that will draw visitors or customers, you'll need some skills and knowledge, which is exactly what this site is all about -- teaching you what you need to know to design a successful Web site.

What this guide is

This guide is about site design -- the tools and methods that go into designing a site. It's my ultimate answer to the question I get asked every time someone finds out I manage and design Web sites -- "Can you show me how to make a Web site?"

This guide is not about Web content, or Web hosting, or indexing, or domain names, or anything else that's not Web design2. It's about design, because in my opinion, design is the second most important aspect of making a Web site. Content comes first, but odds are, you already know what you want to put on the Web, and there's a good chance you know more about it than me. As far as content goes, I have one thing to say: having legal content reduces the chances you'll end up in jail3.

Contents

I'm a busy guy, and there's a lot of stuff to cover, so this is a work-in-progress. Please bear with me.

  1. Colors on the Web
  2. Basic HTML
  3. It's a matter of Style

About the Author

If you're asking yourself "Why should I listen to this guy?", this is for you:

A long time ago, in a town far, far away -- from anything -- there was this guy who looked nothing like Luke Skywalker4. The guy in question (Me) was still in High School, when his computer teacher invited him to work on this thing called the Sunrise Project. The whole idea was to take this new idea called the World Wide Web5 and find a way to change the Internet from a plain-text caterpillar to the multi-media butterfly it is today.

That's where I started, back in 1993. Since then, I've been involved in designing and building Web sites. For the past three years, I've worked as a Technical Writer and Web Designer full-time. Before that, I did everything from designing Web-based software interfaces to providing technical support for UNIX-based Web hosting. I've worked with every aspect of Web sites, from the system hosting them, to the content hosted, as well as with the various tools for browsing Web sites.

That's just a rough overview of what I've done over more than ten years, but it should give you an idea of where I'm coming from, and why I know what I'm talking about.


Footnotes :

1. I'm making a bit of an assumption here, based off the fact that you're looking at this Web page. If you don't actually have a computer, you may need to buy or borrow one in order to make your own Web page. An Internet connection of some sort will come in useful if you want to actually put your Web page in a place others can see.

2. As it turns out, I know a lot about what works and what doesn't in the world of Web content, Web hosting, indexing, domain names, and most other things related to the World Wide Web. I know a lot about some other things as well, and you're welcome to ask me questions (I don't guarantee I'll reply, though).

3. I make no guarantees whatsoever about whether or not you end up in jail. That's mostly a factor of how many laws you break, where you live, and how corrupt the cops are there (by which I do not mean to infer that all cops are corrupt. Some cops are 0% corrupt. Others are 100% corrupt. Hopefully, you live where the average is closer to 0%). All I'm saying is that if you don't have illegal content on your Web site, that's one less thing you should have to worry about.

4. Luke Skywalker is a fictional character created by and property of George Lucas, who is not a fictional character. I'm not a fictional character either, which is part of what makes me look completely different from Luke Skywalker -- the real part. I do, however, share certain physical characteristics with Mark Hammil, the real person who played the character of Luke Skywalker. Some of those characteristics include having two eyes, two ears, a nose, etc. Just in case you were wondering.

5. It wasn't world wide back then, but that's what they called it. Once it was actually world wide, people had taken to calling it just 'the Web'.